To take up diving, you need to go through sufficient training. Diving courses consist of theoretical and practical components.
Dive training covers a range of aspects such as physics, physiology, equipment, safety and legislation. The most important aspects to master are safety, risk assessment and emergency planning.
Go for a medical
Before any diving course commences, it is strongly advised to pass a thorough diving medical examination. Dive medicals are valid for 12 months, or a diver is reassessed if they begin to suffer from a specific medical condition.
Training is completed at an accredited sports diving school, or one-on-one with a registered diving instructor. At the end of training, the diver will obtain a certified qualification that meets PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) standards or those of the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI).
Speciality courses available
The basic qualification received is for leisure diving purposes, though there are various speciality courses available such as rescue diving and night diving. Leisure divers who wish to become more advanced, for example for scientific purposes, are required to upgrade to a Class 4 certificate. This certificate allows the diver to go to depths of up to 30 metres.
Generally, most leisure diving is shallow, and often if divers go deeper, they only do so for short durations. All dives should involve adequate training and one needs to remember that all dives that go deeper than nine metres have decompression considerations.
(Health24, June 2006)
Information obtained from Jos Beer, Safety and Training Manager, Cape Diving (Pty) Limited.